Arcsoft makes a whole line of photo editing and photo related software products.
One of them is Photo Base 4, which is a program that lets the user organize and
even do simple photo editing. The key to this program is the organizational
features. The first thing I think about when I download pictures from my digital
camera onto my computer is that I sure do have a lot of photos on my hard drive.
One of the great things about storing photos from a digital format on your computer
is that hard drives these days are massive, so that you can store literally hundreds
or even thousands of digital images on your hard drive and you still have room for more.
However, doing this begs the question of "how do I organize them"?
Photo Base 4 is the simple answer to this challenging question. Let me tell you how
it works. You have the option of browsing for photos on your computer, a very handy
procedure, or you can get photo files from your digital camera, scanner or other
location. The browsing for images is very familiar if you have used even a few software
programs previously in that you browse from a "tree" view which will let you access any
file, drive or folder on your computer. Finally, you can create a single or multiple
Photo Base album(s) from photos found at various locations on your computer. We will
discuss this last option in greater detail shortly.
What you need is for your system to be running at least Windows 98/ME/2000/XP on a
Pentium-II PC or equivalent with 100 MB free hard disk space, at least 64 MB RAM and
a 16-bit color display at 800 x 600 screen resolution. All things considered, these
are fairly basic requirements. I am testing it out on my new computer, which has an
Intel P4 3.06 GHz CPU, with 512 MB of RDRAM, running Windows XP Professional, with
80 and 160 GB hard drives. Once I installed it from the CD, I was ready to go. Unlike
some software programs I have installed in the past, this program has worked flawlessly
from the get-go.
Let's proceed to the how-to part of the review. I have a limited number of photos on my
new system, so the first thing I did was add several disks worth of pictures I had taken
with my Sony Mavica digital camera. Now I had a conglomeration of photos from different
events, times and unfortunately many with similar names beginning with MVC00#, which is
how the Mavica names photo images by default. As I mentioned, I have stored images on my
previous computer for a long time and have painstakingly downloaded and then renamed each
of them, but it has been a slow and tedious process. The first thing I loved about Photo
Base 4 was that I could gather my files into an album and then rename them individually
much more quickly and easily than the old-fashioned way. But the best part is being able
to rename them in batch mode, which lets you select the images from your album that you
want to rename and then rename them in sequence, all at once. For example, in the "Kids"
album, I took the images and renamed them "Kids" and they were automatically renamed Kids1
to Kids 73.
Then comes the gathering of the images into the album I wanted to include them in.
For example, I started out with a generic "Kids album" with pictures of the kids at
various events and times. I could also have selected just the photos of ZoŽ at school
or the horse show or I could have included just the images of Jackson playing soccer.
You are only limited in the number and types of albums by the space on your hard drive
and your imagination.
You can even use Photo Base 4 to edit the images that need a bit of touch up. They do
include a fairly basic (in my opinion) photo editor as part of the software that will
let you do some editing of the images. I did try it out on a couple of photos and it
seemed to work very well. To be honest, for most people, it would probably meet your
needs unless you are well-versed in some other more complex and powerful photo editing
Next, after you have your photos organized, renamed and edited to your satisfaction, you
can do several more things with them. One is you can archive them by burning the images
directly to a CD, which will increase the likelihood of the survival of these images.
Another option is to make a wallpaper image or a screensaver from the images you select.
Finally and I think the neatest option is you can produce a slideshow and include audio
in the show. You can even play the slideshow within Photo Base 4. There are many other
things that you can do, once you play with this program some. Some of the more powerful
processes that deserve mention are the ability to "Batch Convert" files from one image
file format to another and the "Batch Resize" option which will let you resize a whole
group of images at once.
The software is not available in local retail stores when I checked. It is available on
CD or via download from the Arcsoft Website online store and the
price there is $49.99.